Yarnell's closing in Searcy Arkansas has made so many people go back and remember things about their lives growing up in Searcy. Several worked at Yarnell's. Here's a note I got from Jim Bohannon. He gave his permission for me to pass the memories on.
July 7, 2011
Enclosed is the 1929 city map computer CD of Searcy. I trust you'll enjoy retracing the old city streets and buildings. Sad, indeed, that Searcy lost Yarnell's. They were part of Searcy history and in the memories of all who knew them for the quality ice cream they produced.
It was in the fall of 1946, my parents and two brothers were living in Bald Knob. I recall after finishing lunch at the Bald Knob School cafeteris, we children were passing through the cafeteria door exit and were to receive a fresh cone containing Yarnell's Ice Cream on our way out to the playground.
My uncle, who was a high school senior that year, was scooping out the ice cream and all the children were receiving single dips. As it came my turn for receiving the cone of ice cream, my uncle gave me a "double dip" along with my two school friends who were with me in line. To say the least, it was good to know someone in high places. So was the ice cream. The school children thought so too. Especially the three double dippers.
I worked at Yarnell's during the summer of 1956, during my transition from being a junior to senior in high school. I learned a lot that summer, especially observing production line safety. May I share with you why?
That summer, I worked in the ice cream production line along with the late Marvin Allen, (Marvin passed away in 2009) and Jimmy Don Jackson. Some 51 years later during our Searcy High School 50th year school class reunion, Jimmy Don shared a remembrance of a day we three were working on the Fudgecicle production line.
The fudgie bars (liguid) were inside a metal compartment tray. As I recall today, some 55 years later, (forgive me if I forget some of the details), a person would place the liquid chocolate into a metal compartment tray. The metal compartment tray was placed on a conveyance belt that carried the chocolate liquid into a vat of green looking liquid containing Calcium Chloride, a brine mixture that would quickly freeze the liquid chocolate housed inside the metal trays.
The liquid chocolate would become solid chocolate very quickly. Another person would insert sticks into the semi-frozen chocolate bars approximately half-way across the vat. Then another person would pull the trays containing the frozen chocolate fudgecicle bars. From there, another person would turn the trays over and the frozen bars would fall onto a work table. After that, the frozen bars would be inserted into paper sleeves and packed for frozen storage until moved by truck to a grocery store.
Why am I telling you this? Because Jimmy Don reminded me that that was the time I almost got fired and nearly lost an index finger in the same day. Because you see, we three students had a wager as to who could hold an index finger down into that mixture of Calcium Chloride the longest without the finger becoming a human frozen popsicle.
During a break, Marvin, Jimmy Don and I placed our index fingers in that green liquid stuff. To say the least the fingers on the three began to quickly tingle followed by a feeling of numbness to the finger. Marvin and Jimmy Don, being the smartest of the trio, removed their fingers quickly from the freezing liquid. However, "Young Jim" kept his finger inside the green stuff in order to win the contest.
About that time, Ray Yarnell walks by and says, "Kid, what are you doing! Don't you know you could lose a finger putting it into that liquid!"
"Kid, if you ever do anything like that again, you're fired!" Moral of the story is I didn't put my finger in that green liquid ever again, I didn't get fired and I didn't lose my index finger.
Thank you, Mr. Yarnell.
I had a great summer of 1956 working at Yarnell's and working with friends like Marvin and Jimmy Don as well as the permanent production crews.
I remember recalling the event when reading about Yarnell's closing their doors forever. Not funny anymore. As I advance in age and many of my old school friends are now gone, I treasure my youthful school day's memories with my friends. Yarnell's was my ice cream friend throughout all the years of my life. Their delicious ice cream is now gone forever but never forgotten.
My best regards to all my old friends in Searcy.
Jim Bohannon, Thompson Falls MT
Do you know the people in the picture, Searcy Sleuths?